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Your Kit Lens isn’t as bad as you Think

by Joel Oughton about a year ago in lenses

Despite what you've heard, Kit Lenses are an amazing tool

Your Kit Lens isn’t as bad as you Think
Photo by Mohamed Sharuwaan on Unsplash

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Despite what you may have heard, kit lenses can be an amazing tool.

They are amazing for beginners and it allows them to be slowly eased into the world of DSLR photography.

Kit lenses typically come in the box with your first ‘serious’ camera (ie. a DSLR) and they are cheap to produce but they produce decent images.

It gives the beginner photographer an ideal platform to get started with because before they progress onto more challenging lenses.

This is because:

It covers a wide 18–55mm range

They are great wide lenses for beginners, allowing them to capture large buildings and landscapes with ease

While the aperture is much narrower than say, a 50mm lens, it is still enough for beginners to get some bokeh in their backgrounds

However, it is important that you understand how to get the most out of your kit lens and this article will give you some actionable tips to get you started on your way to taking some amazing photos!

A kit lens covers a wide 18–55mm focal length range, which is more than enough to get you started

By C D-X on Unsplash

When you buy a kit lens, you may notice that on the body of the lens it has the numbers 18 and 55.

This is the zoom range of your lens.

This focal length range is ideal for beginners as it allows you to take a wide variety of photos without them having to buy a more expensive lens.

You can use the wider end of the lens for architectural shots and landscape photos.

This will also result in less depth-of-field, but this is rarely needed when it comes to landscape photos, anyway.

You can use the narrower end of the lens (say 35–55mm) to shoot street photography and portrait photography.

The kit lens performs decently well at this, though you need to keep in mind that you will not get the same level of bokeh in your backgrounds as you would with a 50mm lens.

A kit lens is great for shooting wider shots and allows beginners to master these scenarios with relative ease

By Bailey Zindel on Unsplash

As mentioned previously, the kit lens covers a wide focal length of 18–55mm.

This is particularly useful for beginner photographers who want to take amazing shots of sweeping landscapes or large landmarks with ease.

This focal length range is ideal for beginners as it allows you to take a wide variety of photos without them having to buy a more expensive lens.

In order to do this you should shoot at a focal length of around 24mm but anywhere between 18 and 35mm is fine.

This will ensure you do not compress the background too much and you will end up with a deep depth-of-field that will leave your entire scene in full focus.

If you shoot at around 24mm you will get all of your scenes in the frame and everything will be in focus.

This will be relatively easy to do as a beginner but it is important to make sure that you have enough light in your scene.

This is because the narrower aperture will let in a lot less light than a wider aperture (such as F/1.8) and if you shoot your scene in low-light or night conditions you may end up with either an underexposed shot or a grainy and noisy shot.

Despite the narrow max aperture of F/3.5, the blur in the background is enough for a beginner to get started with

By Osman Rana on Unsplash

As you may know, one of the key limitations of a kit lens is the narrow maximum aperture.

This is why I suggest you pick yourself up a 50mm lens as soon as possible once you have mastered the basics of a DSLR camera.

It is a cheap lens and the wide aperture makes it ideal for low-light and portrait shots.

The maximum aperture of a kit lens is typically F/3.5. This aperture typically lets in a lot less light and gives a less blurry background compared to the F/1.8 aperture found on a kit lens.

The good news is that, for a beginner, the level of blur you get with a kit lens is good enough to get started with. It will give you some decent-looking photos, particularly if you shoot a lot of portrait photography.

All in all, the kit lens is a good lens to get started with. The focal length range allows you to shoot a wide variety of photos and the lens gives beginner photographers a good platform to get started with in their photography journey.

In my personal opinion, I suggest that you buy a 50mm lens once you have done the following:

Learned to set up your camera and understand the basic toggles

You can start to shoot in manual mode. This will come in handy whatever type of photography you shoot or whatever camera you use

Started to take different types of photos with your kit lens and you understand how different focal lengths affect your photos

Once you can do all of this, you will be well on your way to taking some amazing pictures.

Good luck!


Joel Oughton

16 | UK | Founder of | Writes about photography, tech, science and entrepreneurship | Medium Profile:

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